The world of podcasting is evolving at a stunning rate. Once perhaps unfairly associated with a solitary individual with a laptop and a microphone chuntering away about some apparently fascinating unsolved murder, podcasts are now an entire industry and, believe it or not, the top tier are eyeing up Netflix’s throne for a takeover. Chief amongst them is Your Mom’s House, an irreverent to the extreme show helmed by comedians and husband and wife duo Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky, filmed in a full studio, assisted by a whole production team and an expanding budget. The show has its own in-jokes and references that stretch back as far as the podcast’s own 10-year history. It’s impossible to understand and follow them all — but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying — but they have an ever-growing legion of fans dedicated to doing just that.
Some of those fans are more famous than others. Their tight-knit comic friends who make semi-regular appearances — Bill Burr, Bert Kreischer, Nikki Glaser, Andrew Santino, Chris D’Elia, and so on and so on — do their best to keep up, but it’s Danny Brown who may have snatched the Number 1 Guest title. Clearly a huge fan, when he appeared on the show back in February he stole the show. He made references to episodes from years ago and has since cited the show as one of the key influences on his new album, uknowhatimsayin. He’s also since gone on to host his own show, Danny’s House, which bears more than a passing resemblance to YMH.
Of course, Your Mom’s House isn’t even the couple’s primary venture. Both veteran comics in their own right, they take turns touring while the other stays at home to raise their two young sons. Currently, it’s Tom’s turn to head out on the road and, having just wrapped up the first U.S leg of the Take It Down tour, he’s now headed to the U.K and Europe for the first time in almost a decade. At that point he was opening act for Russell Peters, but now he’s the headline act at his Take It Down London show this Friday (October 31) at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo followed by dates at The Lowry in Salford (November 2) and two shows at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin (November 3, 4pm and 8pm).
You’re just about to start on the European leg of the Take It Down tour. How does touring Europe compare to touring the States and North America?
It’s going to be my first time doing it, ever, so I think it’s exciting but also you have the same thought that you had… I remember the first time I went to Canada, which is obviously really close to the United States, but you have this general panic that about whether things are going to be the same there or not. Are jokes that work here going to work there, so there’s some of that about going to the UK, but I’m going to Paris, Antwerp and Berlin. I don’t know how the fuck that’s going to work.
But it’s not the first time you’ve performed in a non-English speaking country, right?
Yeah, I did an Asian tour. I did Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau. This is like 2014. That was really fun. It worked basically the way you’d think it would work, but you still have that thought of “I’m in a totally different culture, a totally different part of the world."
Did you have to change up your material at all for the cultural differences?
Not really. I think what ended up happening is when you go abroad the people that end up coming to your show at this point are dialed in on who you are, so for the most part I would think somebody going to the show knows that this is an American guy. I’m obviously not going to talk about something super specifically American, but they get it and that’s why they’re at the show.
You mentioned on Theo Von’s podcast about doing a show in Spanish. How’s that coming along?
It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. I did a set here in Los Angeles at a Spanish show. That was my first real life experience of it and that was fun. I’m planning a couple of new ones after the New Year. I have a lot going on though between now and shooting a special in November, but when that’s over, I’m hoping to be able to do more Spanish language shows. The goal would be to shoot something in Spanish.
How did that L.A show go? Were you getting laughs?
Yeah, but I haven’t felt that level of terror since I was brand new. You wanna talk about panic, I was like holy shit! I speak Spanish fairly well, but ordering breakfast and telling jokes are completely different things. I didn’t know how it was going to go, but luckily it was a really good crowd. They were primed for me so it was the ideal situation.
You’ve spoken a lot about the politics and the bullshit of comedy clubs. Like getting bumped on line-ups or club owners not paying you. Are you at the level where you’ve left that behind now?
Yeah, I mean, I don’t have to deal with that now, but I fully realise that’s a reality for other people. Now I’m touring in theatres and it’s a whole different ball game, but that type of element will always exist in clubs. It sounds weird to say, but in a way it’s almost the appeal of clubs. You instantly know you’re going into a seedy, shady place with some of them. I don’t know what it’s like in the UK, but the trend now in the States is big, shiny, beautiful clubs. So all the new clubs look like sports bars where they have huge screens and it’s very polished, but the clubs I was used to starting out were always dirty, dingy and the manager was kind of a scumbag-looking dude. That element will always exist in comedy clubs.
I guess it’s a way of testing you, in a way. If you can make it through that then maybe you’ve got something.
Absolutely! People drop out. We always talk about how part of ‘making it’ as a comedian, so to speak, is sticking with it. You start out with this group where you recognise them because you see them at every show. Then six months later and you’re like “Where’s that guy?” and you just don’t see them again. Fast forward 10 years later and you recognise maybe five of the comics you started out with.
Were there times you came close to quitting?
Well, I remember having really bad bombs where you bomb so hard. Not even at a small show, at a big show. You’re early on in your career and you have that moment at the hotel later where you’re wondering if you even know what you’re doing. I really thought I knew what I was doing. I don’t think I ever actually thought “I’m never doing this again,” it’s more like moments of doubt.
For me, one of the strengths of Your Mom’s House is that it’s really out there, but it’s also got a weird family vibe to it. Do fans ever get too familiar or cross any boundaries? Like the Bert jokes for example?
Definitely. People definitely take it too far. Living in this world you have to accept and deal with trolls or whatever, but the first time you see someone shit on you on social media it’s kind of startling if you haven’t experienced it before. Now if somebody is doing it it doesn’t really have the same effect. You build up a tolerance. The comment section of anything is generally a wild west so I’m just not going to engage with it that much. I just know not to do a deep dive, but it takes a while to learn that lesson. With the jokes, my dynamic with Bert is that we are really good friends and we do tease each other. I definitely do say meaner shit than he does, but it’s also our relationship. He’s not confused by it. I don’t know if this is too old of a reference, but I think of it as like the old Chris Farley and David Spade movies, their dynamic. Bert is definitely Chris Farley and I’m definitely Spade. He’s this big, crazy maniac and I’m just saying sarcastic, shitty things to him. Talking to you, that’s clear to you. So you realise that part of the population is just not going to get it. They’re not going to get the joke, they’re not going to get the relationship, they’re not going to get why you think something is funny and it’s wasted energy trying to explain it to them. You just have to move on.
I guess that’s the price of it.
Exactly. It’s the price of exposure.
The other strength of the podcast is that obviously people go there to watch you and Christina be funny and the messed up videos and everything, but the interviews have really taken on a life of their own. I don’t know if it’s because you’re not journalists working for a media company, but people are definitely willing to tell you stories that they maybe wouldn’t tell anyone else.
That’s awesome, man. Thank you. I love it. I think the reason those interviews work for us is that I am genuinely curious about people. I try to get to know people. I try to get stories out of people, so when you like having conversations then naturally you’re going to get good ones recorded. The real reason I even started podcasting was I was a guest on this one podcast years ago and I was irritated by the way the host spoke to people. In my head I would hear myself thinking “You’re not going to ask a follow-up question on that?” It really bothered me and I would picture myself in his seat. I couldn’t believe they would just leave a statement sitting there and not ask anything else. I just love interviewing people that I’m curious to get to know.
You haven’t always had guests on the show though. How did that evolve?
Well, we went from having guests to having no guests. The idea behind having no guests was if you can build an audience that’s not guest-reliant, then you’re building a fanbase that just wants to hear you. So we did that for a while and then we brought them back just to switch it up again.
Of all the many guests you’ve had, who has been your favourite apart from Alyssa Milano?
Haha! Well, Danny Brown was amazing. Here’s the thing: Our show has so many inside jokes. When people first hear the show and hit me up they always ask me what all the reference are about and you can’t explain it because it’s 10 years of references. It’s going to take you a while. But Danny Brown and Brendan Urie, they listen to the show already and there’s nothing quite like having a guest on who is calling things out and referencing stuff from years ago, it takes it to another level of fun. There are comedians we have great dynamics with, like Bert and Ryan Sickler, and you have like a shorthand language with them. That’s always fun, but Danny and Brendan stand out to me as two of the most fun episodes we’ve ever done.
What do you think the future of podcasting, or at least your lane of podcasting, is?
I can’t imagine it’s anything other than upwards. Someone asked me recently if I thought this was the peak of podcasting and if we were heading towards over-saturation. I don’t think so at all. You’re hitting over-saturation in the sense that a lot of people are trying to get noticed. I think people are still figuring it out. Do you remember when Netflix switched from DVDs to streaming? People realised they could just hit stuff on demand and then, in a lot of ways, they basically destroyed the cable business. People realised they could just watch what they want and not have to sit through any bullshit. I think the same thing’s going to happen here. With podcasts, you can be into finance, sports, comedy, politics. There’s no reason why more and more people aren’t going to be creating high quality content. So I think we’re at the beginning of it. I always make this point to people, but you’re starting to see the Fortune 500 companies advertising on podcasts. That’s really the sign that the explosion is yet to come. Pretty soon, when you have maybe 40% of people listening to podcasts — which is a little way away — advertisers are going to realise that’s where the ears are.
Absolutely. There’s a huge chunk of the global population that even skips Netflix, let alone live TV, and heads straight to YouTube.
A lot of people don’t know, because they don’t think of it this way, but Netflix’s biggest competitor is YouTube. It’s the exact same concept and platform, just a different way of delivering it. They both have the same goal: they both want you to get lost on their platform and not go anywhere else. That’s why you have a million choices. They want you to be drowning in choices. They want you to get stuck there and watch one thing after another. With YouTube there’s actually even more choice than Netflix.
So what’s the future of Your Mom’s House?
We’re going to keep doing the show we’re doing. We have the studio — I just pulled up there now — and we’re producing a lot of other shows, which we’re having a lot of fun with. We’re basically doing a version of what those big platforms do. I want you to get lost on my channel. Bert and I have our own podcast, 2 Bears 1 Cave, we produce a show for Dr. Drew called Dr. Drew After Dark, we produce a show called Ryan Sickler called Honeydew, and they’re all on our YouTube channel. So our business model for that is “here’s a bunch of content, hopefully you can find something you like here.” That’s really what it is.
What are you thoughts on the UK comedy scene? Apart from one or two Brits going to the States, there doesn’t seem to be much cross-pollination.
To be honest, I don’t know too much about it. Obviously, the UK has always had a great comics. Last time I was there was in 2010. I opened for Russel Peters at the O2 Arena in London. I met some local guys and they were all really cool, but I’m not too exposed to it. But I’m a huge fan of the British comedy shows so I’m really excited to go there and be around it all. I want to see the land where the language I speak originated from. I’m very excited to get confused by all the different accents.